“Racism is a mental illness; it is in the marrow, encoded in every person from birth and in every institution in this country. It is simply unavoidable. Racism is like breathing. In fact, they are synonymous.”
About a week ago I was over at my brother thefreeslave blog page and read a post which began with the above assertion. I didn’t think much about the post at the time although I did feel that it was an interesting concept. I was away for a little while and yesterday went back to his page and was very surprised on the discussion that had been taking place between him and a number of “white progressives/liberals” who vehemently disagree with the idea that racism is a mental illness. I recommend visiting there and following the discourse. It is very interesting and eye-opening. The title of the beginning post is “Was This A Regression on My Part”. I weighed in with my 2 cents worth, which is below.
Hey Lubangakene! I have been away for a few days, just hit your spot and read your discourses on racism as mental illness. As a male of African descent, I agree with you wholeheartedly, that it is a form of mental illness. This whole notion (primarily from so-called white progressives/liberals etc. – and you know my general feelings about this group), that racist behaviour is a “choice”, misses the real “live” truth of the issue. The real “live” truth that we, as Black peoples’ live and breath. For white people it “may” be seen as a “choice”, as an intellectual/rational exercise, however for most white people I come in contact with (in the “oh so tolerant Canada”) it is so ingrained within them that they “act out” their racist behaviour even without realizing it, some even while they attempt to “control” it. AND what do we say to ourselves and each other: “dem white peoples dey crazy!” We see the craziness! We see the disfunction! AND WE ARE THE PRIMARY VICTIMS OF THEIR MENTAL ILLNESS! And as my granny used to say:” those who feels it, knows it”. Lubangakene they are incapable of seeing and/or accepting their disfunction, especially those who consider themselves “good white peoples”.
Your point is right on when you state how Africans slaves were seen as no better than “beasts”. YET the female species of these so-called beasts, our women, were constantly raped by the superior white humans. What kind of mentality could justify this type of behaviour? What kind of mind would create a document which stated that “all men were created equal”, yet consider men of a different colour, 3/4 human? What type of mind could lynch another human being, remove their genitals and force it down their throats, while having a picnic? What type of mind would create and continue a society based on these principles and atrocities, and is yet able to sleep at night without tossing and turning, because their illusion of reality is normal in their own minds. I’ll say it loud: “THEY ARE CRAZY! THEY ARE MENTALLY ILL!”
Racism, although for me the more appropriate term is “White Supremacy Thinking”, has made many of our people crazy, mentally ill… literally! You ask a very pertinent question: If it makes us crazy, causes mental illness in and among us, why do white people think that they are immune from the disease themselves? Is it because they consciously (or unconsciously) consider themselves mentally superior? Is it because as the primary carriers of the disease, as the ones who infected “us”, they cannot see that over generations, they have infected themselves!? Do they hide behind and/or reassure themselves through their “clinical definitions” that although they suffer may suffer from depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, anorexia, etc…. racism is not something they “suffer” from, it is a “choice”, within their control… and we know how white people hate NOT being in control!
The bottom line is this mah Bruh, if racism is a mental illness, something which is NOT within their control: THEN THEY ALL HAVE IT…. EVEN OUR SO-CALLED WHITE PROGRESSIVE/LIBERAL FRIENDS…. AND HEAVEN FORBID THAT! All the self-actualizing work they have done, all the anti-racist workshops they have engaged in and led, all the time and effort they have spent proving that they are “different” from the rest of their “kind”, especially the most vile racist of the past and present, all the choices made in an effort to be a more understanding and tolerant human being, ALL OF THAT WAS AND IS FOR NOUGHT! ZERO! WHICH ALSO LEADS ONE TO CONCLUDE THAT THERE IS A LITTLE MICHAEL RICHARDS IN ALL WHITE PEOPLE JUST WAITING TO SPRING OUT! That is why they are so surprised when their illness comes to the surface in it’s most clearest and obvious forms! They sincerely state “I don’t know where that came from ’cause really…. I’m not a racist”. They know for sure that they didn’t go through a process to “choose” to say those words and/or make that racist statement. It just came out! They had no control over it. BUT there is no way that it stemmed from being mentally ill. They will NEVER accept that.
Walk good my brother. Once again you speak power to truth.